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Hospital microbiologists face measures over bacteria outbreak

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Three microbiologists at the Maasstad hospital in Rotterdam are to face disciplinary proceedings for failing to tackle an outbreak of infections caused by a superbug in 2010/2011.

Hospital inspectors say the three are fully responsible for the failure of the hospital to get infections related to the Klebsiella bacteria under control.

Three patients died after becoming infected with Klebsiella, a multi-resistant bacteria, and a further 10 others may also have died because of it, an independent report into the outbreak last year showed.


Hospital hygiene experts are also 'directly responsible' for the hospital's failings but will not face disciplinary procedures because the law does not allow this. The inspectors have recommended the law be changed on this point.

The official report into the outbreak last November said hospital officials underestimated the size of the Klebsiella outbreak, its seriousness and how long it would last.

The bacteria was first identified in 2010 but action only taken in May 2011. In total 107 patients became infected, the report said.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

And the dutch are supposed to be experts in 'superbugs'.
This case fully reflects the total disregard of the current medical establishment for the patients. The law needs to be ammended so that doctors are held responsible (criminally responsible when appropriate) for their negligence, misdiagnosis or lack of efforts to get to a diagnosis, failure to provide appropriate and timely treatment. We all know the latter are unfortunately too common characteristics of the dutch medical establishment. Patients don't even get information about who is the doctor carrying out a procedure many times and are given very poor advice just to minimize costs.

By G.CT | 25 January 2012 9:23 AM

This is a sad story; people actually died due to the direct negligence of certain members of the hospital staff. I hope the law gets changed very very soon to include penalties for all those responsible in such incidents; and I hope the penalties are very severe. Again, without penalties and serious consequences, this type of life endangering carelessness just continues unchecked. More and more people seem to need to forced to take the responsibilty that they are charged with; be that at work, behind the wheel of a car or managing the finances of a global business or country even.

By Bill | 25 January 2012 12:50 PM

If a patient dies due to negligence those responsable should face criminal charges.
A driver would face manslaughter charges if they caused the death of another road user. Why should the same laws not be applied in this situation?

By Donaugh | 25 January 2012 2:13 PM

I agree with the post of Bill 100%. I have been in hospital along with my small daughter several times. The lack of hygiene is appalling. The simple act of washing hands and wearing gloves is common.
The cost is lives. Shame on The Netherlands for allowing preventable death. It is not any suprise that The Netherlands is leaders in infant mortality and non survival rates in areas such as cancer.
I have gotten better care in a third world country than here. In fact I was sent to South Africa because of a 3 year wait list. Glad I was not one of the fatalities to Dutch Healthcare but so many are

By AB | 26 January 2012 5:49 AM

The practices of hygiene should be improved not only among doctors, but also among other people who come into contact with us or our food, like school teachers and cooks in restaurant. I was appalled by something I saw at a playschool here; the kids are allowed to have snacks "without cleaning their hands" after playing in the "zandbak" and soiling their hands! Is that not a stunning act of carelessness? Even in the so-called developing countries, we are taught to wash our hands before touching any food, wash our hands after returning home, after touching our shoes and so on. I find that these measures, if implemented from childhood, will control the spread of infections.

By GGG | 26 January 2012 9:15 AM

The way this is reported it sounds like the microbiologists at the coal face are directly responsible. It doesn't appear that the hospital administrators are culpable at all.

I can imagine a scene: microbiologist tells line manager there's a problem, line manager tells hospital director. The director, with a view on P.R. and budgets discourages aggressive response, and passes this down the management chain. Microbiologists left holding the can, hospital director gets a bonus for keeping costs down.

From the report, above, we don't know the full story, but it's quite a realistic scenario.

By H. | 26 January 2012 1:37 PM

@AB, infant mortality rate here is the same as in other European countries

By pepe | 30 January 2012 2:28 PM

I could not disagree with AB more, the hospitals I have visited in NL are far cleaner, more efficient, better staffed and better equipped then all the hospitals I have visited elsewhere!(Primarily in England)
Ok the 'bed side manner' of NL medical practicioners leaves a little to be desired but I would take rudeness over filth and neglect anytime.

By Rebekka | 30 January 2012 2:43 PM

AB: the most recent article which states the appallingly high increases in cancer rates and/or diagnoses addresses some of your concerns. however, I have to say that in general I find hygienge here in health care to be pretty good; its the lack of accepting responsibilty and lack of accountabilty here that I'm having some major problems with. In this case, people died because certain individuals simply did not do their job correctly. These individuals, or organizations, must be held fully accountable. No exceptions.

By Bill | 30 January 2012 3:19 PM

Well, I don't know where all you lot have been going, but it's certainly not to any hospital I've ever been in, and believe me, I've been in a few, having currently got 2 chronic diseases and having had breast cancer etc in the past. The care I've had is second to none. Oh, and your records are YOUR property, all you have to do is ask for them!

By woods | 30 January 2012 4:35 PM

With over 100,000 people diagnosed with cancer in the Netherlands each year an increase of 36% from 10 years ago I'd have to question why the increase if medical care is better than England? Seems like an oversight be medical practitioners, or lacking access to yearly visits for check-up and preventive care. Would be interesting to know the survival statistics of patients with cancer in NL and the causes other than smoking.

By Jan | 30 January 2012 6:18 PM

Wonder what further problems will arise from the Italian garbage sent to the Netherlands for processing ...to be burned in two Dutch waste incinerators. Doesn't seem like anyone is questioning what it can do to NL air quality, etc. if toxic waste is disposed of improperly and sent to NL. A basic business contract might create unexpected problems for people living near the two incinerators. Money seems to speak louder than any concern for public safety.

By Henk | 30 January 2012 6:27 PM

Thanks for your post, Rebekka. I haven't had any personal experience (yet) with the Dutch healthcare system and all I read on this site are negative comments. It's nice to see a comment on the other side of the coin, so to speak.

By Stupid | 31 January 2012 12:31 PM

I've had 2 operations requiring surgery each with a one-day stay in a hospital or clinic, both in Amsterdam. Both experiences were amazing. I cannot say I witnessed any lack of hygiene, at least not in the operating room. Experiece in the emergency wing wasn't stellar but it was mainly an issue with the waiting time than lack of hygiene.

By Michael K | 31 January 2012 1:36 PM

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